Think tank honours Sheffield postgraduate as top Northern talent

A rising star from the University of Sheffield has been pinned as 'one to watch' in a new report outlining the most talented people in the North of England.

Benjamin Hennig, a postgraduate researcher from the University's Department of Geography, has been selected by the Institute of Public Policy Research North (IPPR North) to feature on their list of the 50 brightest and most talented people in Northern England.

A member of the University's Social and Spatial Inequalities Group, Benjamin conducts interdisciplinary research that contributes to an evidence base for policy development aimed at reducing social inequalities. His research focuses on global and national visualisations of topics related to contemporary issues, a number of which have already been released into the public eye, such as the striking visualisations of the UK and US elections.

Another project Benjamin has worked on which received significant public interest was a new online atlas, which included maps designed to show, at a glance, which cities are the largest, how all urban areas compare and whether many or few people live in the countryside.

The Northern Lights 2011 list, which features 'ones to watch' from the worlds of business, academia, public service, politics, culture, the arts and social and community action, highlights Benjamin as one of the winners in the Ideas and Inspiration category.

Benjamin, who is currently completing his PhD research and working on a book project on world population, due out in 2012, said: "It's a great honour that I have been selected for this list and to be pitted amongst such great talent from the North of England is very pleasing. The news is very encouraging for my research."

Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: "The North is choc full of talent. Our Northern Lights list shines the spotlight on upcoming stars from politics to poetry, from Liverpool to Lindisfarne. We want to celebrate the best and boldest and shirk any notion of it being grim up North. We think the North should be leading, not pleading, its way to renewed prosperity and so we must develop and hold on to the talented individuals who can lead the Northern renaissance."

Notes for Editors: The Northern Lights Top 50 was arrived at following a call for nominations, with the requirement that nominees must live and work in the North East, North West or Yorkshire and Humber. The final 50 were selected by the directors of IPPR

The Institute of Public Policy Research North (IPPR North) is the regional arm of the national IPPR think-tank. With bases in Newcastle upon Tyne and Manchester, they are advocates for the North of England and are working hard for a fairer, more democratic and sustainable North. The IPPR want to make the North of England the 'place to be' for progressive policymaking in Europe and recognise that one of the keys to ensuring the North prospers in the future is to develop and retain talented people.

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